When you think of the word "brand," you're probably thinking of names, logos and colors, and while the visuals are an important part, there's a lot more to branding than designing a logo. Building a unique brand from the ground up may seem like a difficult task. What should my brand look like or how should it make people feel? How will I market my brand to my audience? Whether you only have a business idea or want to change your current branding strategy, here's what you need to know about creating a strong brand identity for your business.
What is a brand?
A brand is more than just a memorable name and logo that helps you stand out in a crowded market. People, too, have personal brands, if you think about it. We all have a name, a face, a style, and a way of communicating, and these characteristics cause us to leave different impressions on different people. Similarly, businesses have names, products, logos, colors, fonts, voices, and reputations that define them and influence how they are perceived. You can't effectively approach how to create a brand unless you're consistent and keep that consistency as you extend your brand into every aspect of your business. The best way to build a brand is to first determine what that consistency will look like and the feeling you want it to convey.
7 Ways to Build Your Small Business' Brand
1. Know your target audience
Before you can make any decisions about how to create a business brand, you must first understand your current market, which includes who your potential customers and current competitors are. A few ways to do this:
Google similar business models and take note of their brand and marketing strategy
Examine the relevant social media accounts or pages that your target audience follows and is interested in.
Investigate subreddits or forums related to your customers and listen in on their conversations and product recommendations.
2. Choose your brands personality
After gathering your research on your customers and market it's time to put that knowledge to use in defining your brand. This is where you decide your brands "vibe." Include the elements that make up what your business stands for, such as your business's mission, values, and personality.
Combine these elements to create a distinct tone and voice for your brand. Do you want it to be exciting, fun, professional, or elegant? To be successful in branding, you must first thoroughly understand your brand: what it stands for and who it is attempting to reach.
3. Pick a name
Choosing the name of your business is most likely one of the first major commitments you must make. It will have an impact on your brand logo, domain, marketing, and trademark registration, if you choose to go that route.
Ideally, you want a name that is difficult to imitate and even more difficult to confuse with existing competitors. If you intend to expand your product lines in the future, consider keeping your business name broad so that you can pivot more easily, rather than choosing a brand name based on your product category.
4. Come up with a slogan
Slogans may sound cheesy and some of them are for sure BUT they have potential to make a strong impact when done properly. A catchy slogan is a useful asset to have—something brief and descriptive that you can use as a tagline in your social media bios, website header, custom business cards, and anywhere else where you only have a few words to make a big impression.
5. Choose your brands colors and fonts
Colors not only define the look of your brand, but they also convey the feeling you want to express and help you make it consistent across all of your activities. To avoid confusing your potential customers, choose colors that set you apart from your direct competitors.
It's also a good time to consider what fonts you might want to use on your website.
When it comes to fonts, keeping it simple is the best way to build a brand. To avoid confusing visitors, use no more than two fonts: one for headings and one for body text (this does not include the font used in your brand logo).
6. Design your logo
When you think about creating a new brand, one of the first things that comes to mind is probably a brand logo design. And for good reason: after all, it is the face of your business and could potentially be everywhere your brand is. You should ideally create your brand with a logo that is distinct, identifiable, and scalable to work at all sizes (something often overlooked)
If you use a text logo as your Instagram avatar, it will be nearly impossible to read. Create a square version of your brand logo with an icon or symbol element (called a logomark) that remains recognizable even at smaller sizes to make your life easier.
7. Apply your brand across your business as a whole
Applying your branding throughout your business creates a unified brand story. A brand story embodies "who" your business is and what it stands for. It establishes the tone for every interaction your customers have with your brand, both in-person and online.
Building a brand does not end with the creation of a logo or slogan, or even with brand awareness following launch. Your brand must be present and consistent wherever your customers interact with you.